Sunday, February 27, 2011


22 miles on the schedule fo rthis morning, successfully completed! 

Not painless, nor easy, but done.

It was warm and humid.  Probably mid-60s at the start, upper 60s at the finish.  And very sticky.  A little bit of mist/drizzle right before we started, but then that just hung in the air. 

My pace was okay, though my final 2 miles were fairly slow (basically the same pace as mile 1, which is usually my slowest).  But by the time I was at about mile 18, I was very ready to be finished. 

Unfortunately there seemed to be a lot of vehicle traffic over the last few miles, so I also had to run on the slope of the road, which sucked.  And I also ended up running a whole lot of it alone today.  Blah. 

My legs are very achy right now, more than 6 hours after I finished.  The most pain seems to be on the back side of my lower left calf and my right foot -- both the problem toe, the swollen bump/cyst thing, and something new that seems undefined but painful.  And this is all after an ice bath even!

And I ended up with chafing near both my shoulders from the straps of my sports bra.  This doesn't usually happen and it's the same bra, so I don't know what the story was today. 

But after the run and my ice bath, hubby and I went out for Mexican food and I loaded up.  I ate about 3 bowls of chips all by myself, a lot of salsa and about half our order of guac, and I cleaned my plate -- mango salad and I ordered my usual avocado-artichoke enchilada, but I asked that they DOUBLE it so I actually got (and ate) two enchiladas.  Yum! 

Then I went shoe shopping for new shoes for tomorrow (very excited!!).  Got two pairs of black shoes, one casual for travelling and one for work.  But I do not recommend going shoe shopping for work shoes after you've run 22 miles and you have a very tender problem toe.

Got home and threw in some laundry, then went for a 4 mile walk with my local bestie.  Sounds healthy but it wasn't -- our destination was this place that's build-your-own ice cream sandwiches.  You pick the cookie and ice cream flavors.  I felt indecisive so I had two diff cookies (vanilla sugar and white chocolate cranberry) and two diff ice creams (cake batter and blackberry cobbler).  YUM!!!! 

I think with all that food, I put a dent in my 2400 calorie deficit from this morning's run!  Anyway, since I'm unemployed, I'm going to fold some laundry and make a lovely dinner for my sweet hubby.  I'm going with a recent recipe fave -- an orzo/eggplant dish.  And I'm going to make my lunch for tomorrow.  And then hopefully very early to bed (no nap today, which is usually a must for me after anything over about 20 miles), and I've been asking hubby to give me a legitimate serious leg massage for about 15 minutes before bed.  They are tight and they hurt some.  I think tomorrow might be even worse. 

I might skip camp in the morning in favor of sleeping in and getting ready for my big day!  Hope they know I'm not handicapped, even if I'm walking funny...  Feel very nervous but mostly excited! 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Piling on the Miles

I was afraid to post about this last week b/c of a nagging fear that maybe the wheels would come off this week, but so far, so good.

Last week (2/13-2/19), I had my highest mileage week EVER of running.  54.9.  As I've posted before, I'd been close to that for odd circumstances a couple times (a week where I had to go long on Sun and Sat), and legitimately a couple times.  But this was legit and higher than ever.

Not high mileage for some (I have a few friends who are regularly in the 80s every week, which I can't fathom), but I have done about a dozen marathons where I've peaked at mileage in the mid-40s, and had most weeks in the upper 30s.  This is huge for me. 

This past week was recovery, and I'm feeling the high miles from last week a bit, but no real pains.  Just some general aches and tightness.  I seriously need to add in some yoga.  Right now I'm about as flexible as a dry piece of dead wood.  But at least I'm not in any real pain.  It's just all so stiff. 

But even scarier than hitting 54.9, it looks like I'm about to do it again.  Looking to the coming week, we have 22 on Sunday, 9 on Tues, 7 on Wed, 10 on Thurs, and 7 on Sat, plus 5 optional on Fri.  That totals up to 55 if I don't do anything on Fri. 

I'm about to go into my 3 highest mileage weeks ever.  55-60, then 52-57, then 57-63.  And then the numbers will drop a bit.  Looks like it'll be about 38, then 48, then 50, then tapering. 

Assuming I get my scheduled 5 in tomorrow and my 22 on Sunday, February 2011 is going to be my highest mileage month ever.  I'll be knocking on the door of the 190s.  Wow...

All this running had better pay off with a kick @ss PR in Boston!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Evidence of my Oddity

I am not a "tech" person in any sense of the word.  I've got some basics down, but I'm slow to adopt new technologies.  Well, in an effort to clear my stuff off my computer at work, I decided to send my personal account an email with a list of my internet favorites.  Is there a better way to export that data?  I don't know.

But I was making the list and I tried to categorize my favorites.

First, there was a list of accounts/personal.  This includes links to the login screens for my email accounts, my high school class data page, a flicker photo set from our wedding in Italy, and a caring bridge page for my local bestie's sister, who has cancer (she's only 30 and has stage 4 lung cancer, even though she's never smoked). 

Then, predictably, there was a legal category.  Links to Texas statutes, online legal research sites, etc.  And a couple more personal ones -- my fave Supreme Court blog and something called "courtoons" which are legal cartoons that post infrequently but usually make me laugh.

Next was my category for running.  First and foremost, my garmin homepage, but also my fave pace calculator (cool running), my fave predictor (McMillan), and a running magazine.  And there are also links for two friends' garmin homepages, a local race photographer's site, an age-grade calculator (b/c I'm odd, mostly to use to compare my times to Adam's, since he's younger and male), and no meat athlete (vegetarian blog kind of site).

Then there is my Italian category.  It includes my favorite online dictionary and verb conjugator, several pages devoted to our local Italian Club, one link to Runner's World in Italian (wasn't sure if this should go under running or Italy), an English language magazine about the province that we most like to visit (the province is Vibo Valentia), and a few of my favorite English-language blogs about life in Italy. 

I have a category for blogs.  Three friends in real life, one devoted to the Bachelor, and several about life and/or running.  Mostly ones that I read fairly frequently, though I don't always go through my favorites to get to them. 

And I have a category for local stuff.  The site where I can pull the police log for my neighborhood, a general crime blog, other things directly related to our condo association, a couple sites devoted to local dining, a link to the city where my husband works (which has lots of fun special events), a couple local blogs related to news (loosely defined).

There is a category related to eating and/or vegetarianism.  Not things I check often, but some things about Christian vegetarianism, ethical vegetarianism, and local eating. 

And there's a kind of random category of news/research.  This has a link to MSN's page summarizing headlines from Africa, the newseum page that shows newspaper front pages from around the world, my favorite "easy flag identifier" (when I see a flag and don't know where it's from, I use this website, it lets you search by how many colors, whether it's stripes, stars, animals, etc.), and the CIA world factbook site. 

All that makes sense to me.  In fact, if I look at my about me page for this blog, running, Italy, legal stuff, etc., it all seems very logical.

Then there was the category I never expected to have to create.

I sadly have an entire category (containing more links than I care to admit) devoted to ... grammar.  And this category has more links than the eating/vegetarian category, and more than my news/research category.  Yikes.  Fun sites about apostrophe abuse, a blog of "unnecessary" quotes, and more.  Oh, who am I???  Very, very odd.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

If I Were...

I can't remember where I read this (so I can't give credit, but it's not mine), but it was such a fun set of statements to complete, that I thought I'd do it.  Feel free to do it on your own blog. 

If I were a month I’d be October.  Marathons.  Good weather.  Close to time to go home for Christmas.
If I were a day I’d be Saturday. 

If I were a time of day I’d be 7:00 p.m.

If I were a font I’d be Copperplate.  My choice for lots of stuff related to our wedding.

If I were a sea animal I’d be a sea lion.  Or a sea cow.  Probably a sea lion.

If I were a direction I’d be South.

If I were a piece of furniture I’d be a dining room table.

If I were a liquid I’d be water.

If I were a gemstone I’d be a sapphire.

If I were a tree I’d be an evergreen.

If I were a tool I’d be a hammer -- because of its dual nature to push things in and pull things out.

If I were a flower I’d be a gerber daisy.

If I were an element of weather I’d be summer breeze.

If I were a musical instrument I’d be a harp.

If I were a color I’d be blue.

If I were an emotion I’d be satisfied.

If I were a fruit I’d be a strawberry.

If I were a sound I’d be the patter of running feet.

If I were an element I’d be Gallium -- and melt in your mouth AND in your hand.

If I were a car I’d be a convertible.

If I were a food I’d be a cupcake.

If I were a place I’d be Malta.

If I were a material I’d be sweat-wicking.

If I were a taste I’d be uncomplicated and vegetably.

If I were a scent I’d be a baked good.

If I were a body part I’d be a wrist.

If I were a song I’d be sung by James Taylor.  Or Steven Tyler.  Or NKOTB.

If I were a bird I’d be a black-capped chickadee.  I'd like to be a sun conure, but I'm just not.

If I were a gift I’d be somthing practical and regularly used.

If I were a city I’d be Rome!

If I were a door I’d be have glass panels through which you could look out at the sea.

If I were a pair of shoes I’d be comfortable but stylish flats not made of animal products.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Step 1 is learning to read...

I made a little mistake this morning.  I really do know how to read.  Our schedule said 3 easy, 3 in zone 2, then 2 easy.  So a short little 8 miles on tap.  But I also know this is a recovery week, so in general lower mileage and lower intensity. 

When I showed up to run, our coach said something about 8 easy.  I started running with a slightly faster group, but by about mile 2.5, my heart rate was getting too close to zone 2, so I slid back a little.  And they started pulling further and further away from me. 

Finally around mile 4.75 I got caught by the group I'm usually with.  And then I realized they were in the middle of the three miles in zone 2. 


I felt like such an idiot.  It's like I read the schedule, I knew the schedule, I should have figured it out, but my mind wasn't quite up to speed this morning...

So I ended up with 5 miles easy, 1 mile in zone 2, and then almost 2 miles easy.  The good news is that all the miles were in a 20 second window except for mile 1 (very slow, warming up) and the 1 mile in zone 2 (significantly faster).  At least I'm getting steadier.

This is going to be a hectic week.  Tonight is a boad meeting for our condo association.  Tomorrow night is the social run and group dinner.  Thursday night is our Italian class.  Friday is hopefully a major last day celebration.  And my cousin and his wife will be here this week for the second operation on their son (the docs decided he needs the operation now based on his weight; his heart has already outgrown the temporary fix they did right after birth, but after this operation, hopefully it won't be until he's almost 2 before he has his next open heart surgery, and hopefully that one will keep him going for good and he won't need a heart transplant or any more surgeries). 

Sunday I'm going to work on getting lunches and snacks ready for the week, planning my outfits, packing my first day desk stuff, etc. 

Also, this week I'm making my first substantial progress on my closet project for the year.  I took in one pair of pants to have them hemmed to check out a new tailor and worked out a pretty good deal to have a set of 10 skirts altered.  So I'm dropping off those skirts tomorrow and then will hopefully get them back in a couple weeks to wear to work.  I told the alterations guy that since I was bringing in so many and asking for a volume discount, I wouldn't need them in any rush.  Assuming the skirts go well, next I'll aim to bring in a set of 10 pairs of pants.  Then I'll do maybe one more set of each and then start dumping the rest (that will be the hard part!). 

Sunday, February 20, 2011


We had 14 easy miles on the schedule this morning.  Hilly route, but it all went pretty well.  My heart rate was a lot lower than I would have guessed -- I think my body is pretty shot from yesterday, but my heart doesn't know it.  That's good I guess!

No big plans for today.  I have a long to do list, but all non-taxing, relaxing stuff like organizing my personal email, captioning and sharing photos, etc.  We got some major stuff done around the house yesterday, and that makes me feel good too.  Big item on my list today is to do some major stretching.  A month or so ago, a woman in our training group sent us info on a stretch called heavy legs on the wall.  I did it yesterday and will make time for it again today.  Basically you lay on your back on the floor with your butt up against the wall and your legs up against the wall.  You just lay there in that position for about 20 minutes.  Yesterday I took a little break around 15 minutes but went back into it for another 5.  I had my husband feel the back of my legs while I was in it -- my hammies felt rock solid.  I was joking that he wouldn't be able to tell if he was feeling my leg or the wall.  Crazy how tight they are, but I'm telling myself it's not just tight, it's strong.  Anyway, an enjoyable stretch to have on the itinerary today. 

So not much to report really.  Close to 70 miles over the course of 8 days and my legs are holding up well.  Not high mileage for some, but definitely for me.  In years past, I've been around low to mid-40s most weeks of marathon training.  It will be very interesting to see if all these miles add up to an impressive finish in Boston. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Well, I wouldn't say I killed it this morning, but I was satisfied with the efforts of my lactate threshold test.  It's still very hard for me to pace myself right now.  Since we're not doing actual speed work per se, I don't have a strong sense of how fast a pace I can sustain for 30 minutes. 

Today I ran 10 minutes fast, and then did the next 10 minutes about 20 seconds slower, and the final 10 minutes at the same pace as the second set of 10 minutes.  It was a faster average than during my 10k effort last month.

I'm not sure if it will change my pace group or not.  My heart rate was slightly lower than it was at the 10k race, but I think I didn't push quite as hard and of course I'm not sick anymore (or medicated). 

But regardless, seeing the people who finished near me, I was pretty happy with that. 

We've spent the rest of the day being very lazy.  We finished watching a movie -- El Alamein (review below), then we watched the Bachelor (finally!), then we made lunch and watched Waiting for Superman.  Then we decided to walk our errands.  We went to the mailbox, then to the tailor to drop off some pants of mine to be hemmed, then to the gas station to drop off the redbox movie (Waiting for Superman, the AC had gotten it from a coworker), then we did some measuring on the trail using my garmin, then we stopped home to pick up some clothes, then to the dry cleaners. 

And now we're getting ready to undertake some home cleaning/organizing projects, and then we'll make dinner and hit the hay early I hope.  My weekly miles this week have been the highest ever, and I'm feeling it.

El Alamein Movie Review.  This is an Italian film about the front line in Egypt during WWII.  It's the perfect compromise.  While I have an abiding interest in WWII, I don't love WWII movies (I prefer books because sometimes films can be too graphic and they're often fictionalized and don't get into as much detail as I like), but I like WWII movies nonetheless.  My hubby doesn't like war movies at all really, but he loves anything in Italian (even Balli Proibiti, which is the dubbed version of Dirty Dancing).  So this film was a good choice for us -- WWII for me, Italian language for him.  The odd thing about watching Italian WWII films is that you're rooting for the enemy.  The characters you get to know are Italian soldiers, and they lose.  Kind of sad.  But typical Italian movie ending...  We both liked it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Changes, changes

It's official, two months to Boston!  Wow.  It will be here before I know it. 

I went to boot camp this morning and didn't run at all.  In fact, it was almost like a Monday boot camp for me, in that I didn't really do much.  Lots of standing around and watching others workout.  My legs were somewhat sore from yesterday's run.

But mostly I'm resting up for tomorrow.  We have our second and final lactate threshold run test.  That means we'll run easy for 15 minutes, then run as fast as we can sustain for 30 minutes, then cool down for 15 minutes.  Based on what our heart rate and pace are during the 30 minutes, the remainder of our Boston training season paces will be set.

This means my performance tomorrow determines what my Boston goal finish time will be.  I'm again starting to think about the same pressure and stress I felt (and posted about) before our first lactate threshold test this year.  Although our run tomorrow isn't an official race, so at least my results won't be available for the world to see forever.  But doing well is just as important now, if not more so, because with all the big changes to future Boston marathons that were announced this week, my goal is no longer to requalilfy.  Instead, the larger my margin of qualification, the more likely it is that I'll get into Boston again. 

But I don't even know if I'll want to run Boston again.  It's kind of like life at my first legal job.  I was at a big firm and the mentality was if you work really hard and bill the crap out of your life for the next 10.5 years, you'll get to make partner.  But not everyone stops to think, wait, do I even want to make partner?  Look at their lives -- is that what I want for mine?  It works for some people, but I realized (much later than most) that it wasn't what I wanted for my life.

So I changed jobs.  Followed a friend to pretty much the polar opposite.  I went from one of the largest firms in the world to one of the smallest (though there are hoards of very small ones, obviously).   

But that ends next week Friday, my last day here.  Wow. 

I'm not taking any time off (other than that weekend, which, knowing me, will spent still trying to wrap things up here).  It didn't make sense to take more time in between jobs because hopefully we'll still be making our big Boston-Italy trip in April.  Anyway, the following Monday, 2/28, I'll start my new job.  It will be in-house, doing more litigation management than actual litigation.  So while right now, I draft the briefs and motions and a client reviews them and then they get filed with the court, at my new job, I'll be the one reviewing the briefs and motions drafted by outside counsel. 

I can't even say how excited I am.  I try not to post about work much, and I really, really like the partner I work with here (though I'm not sure his management style is the best, it's because he's just too nice), but there are some really dreadful staff personalities here.  There seems to be constant drama among them, and sometimes including me and other attorneys.  It's sometimes very unprofessional and emotionally draining. 

I'm hoping that won't be such an issue at my new position.  I have many reasons to be optimistic, primarily because there are more attorneys, so I'm guessing things are less personal and more professional. 

So that's the big exciting news I've been sitting on -- it's all been decided fairly recently, and while I don't use my real name in blogging, I wouldn't want to post about it until it was all lined up.  Another good thing about the job is that the hours will work well with my current training schedule.  While I start running at 5:15 in the morning, when I have to run 10 miles, it still takes a while, even if there's some race pace (or faster) involved.  When I get home, I'm fairly drained and it takes me a while to get into gear.  It's a real struggle when I have to be in court early, or at something else at a specified time.  I'm sure that will still happen sometimes at my new job, but it won't be a battle on a daily basis.  Love it!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Visiting the Hospital and Talking with a Star

Two completely unrelated things to share today, and an alert about an upcoming piece of news.

First, during the day yesterday, I spent a few hours during the day at the children's hospital here.  Coincidentally, I had two patients to visit in a solely personal capacity. 

First, I'd posted before about my cousin and his wife coming to Dallas to have their baby (which happened Nov. 20), who they knew was missing half of his heart.  I also posted a couple pics right after he was born.  At the time, they did an operation shortly after birth and knew there would be two more surgeries in the future, the next one coming when he was about 6 months old.

Well, he's growing like a weed, so even though he's almost 3months old, his weight is closer to that of a 6 month old.  So they brought him back to Dallas this week to do a cardiac catheterization (sp?).  Based on the results of that, the doctors will decide if he needs his next major surgery within the next week, or if they'll be able to delay it another month or two.  The debate is whether the decision should be made based on age or weight.  Anyway, we should know that soon. 

So I went to the hospital to hang out with my cousin and his wife and their three daughters (all aged 6 or under!) while they waited for the cardiac cath surgery to be done.

But then after that surgery (which went well), I went to ANOTHER floor of the hospital to visit another patient!  My husband's godson (who is 8) has been losing weight over the last few months and weighs well below what a child should for his age.  I am baffled by this because his mom does the cooking in their house and she's a great cook!  Anyway, a couple nights ago, he started getting sick -- he was vomitting so much they took him to their local ER (they live in a suburb way north of here called McKinney).  Well, after a few hours in the ER, they had done some tests and realized his white blood cell count was completely out of whack.  The hospital there didn't have a pediatric ward or the facilities to treat him, so they transferred him to the children's hospital where my cousin's baby is having all his stuff done (my cousin lives in Oklahoma). 

So I went to check on them.  I could tell my hubby's godson wasn't feeling well, he didn't want to eat or drink and was just kind of laying in bed listlessly, but since I don't spend tons of time with him and he's autistic, I'm not sure what is normal for him.  He's often seemed distracted, etc., when we're with him, but this just seemed worse.  Anyway, his parents were there (my husband's bestie and his wife), and I could tell they were really stressed.  Oh, I can't imagine how tough this must be for them.  I hope they get some answers soon.  I may go visit again today.  Hubby went after work yesterday (before he came to meet me after the social run for dinner and then ice cream with my cousin and the 3 daughters). 

But the second big thing that happened yesterday was the social run last night.  I ran just under 4 miles and mostly talked with a friend I hadn't seen lately and one person I didn't know but met through him (and I ran the whole second half of the run with her). 

Afterward, I chatted with Alan Culpepper for a little while.  I came up with several questions to ask him.

First, I asked for Boston tips.  He said that he thinks the last 4 miles of Boston are the toughest miles he's ever run.  He said mentally and physically, after you hit mile 22 and most of the hills (including Heartbreak Hill) are behind you, it's very difficult to realize there are still 4 more miles ahead of you. 

Second, I asked about his current running.  He runs by himself (that's easiest for his schedule) about 25-30 miles a week, still at a pace that I would consider fast -- 6:45 miles.  His wife also runs about 20 miles a week now on her own. 

Third, I asked about his future running.  I was really interested in hearing particularly if he'd ever run another marathon but not race it -- maybe run a 3 or 4 hour marathon, more for fun.  He said definitely not.  He said neuromuscularly, his legs couldn't handle that.  Aerobically he'd be fine, but his legs wouldn't let him do that.  I tried to make it clear that I meant more just for fun and he said essentially (100% paraphrasing and all my words) that running isn't fun for him. 

He ran from the time he was 12 until he was 36.  His parents never pushed him, but by the time he was in high school and college, he knew what he wanted and he went for it.  So he has been running competitively for a long time and I guess it might be hard to change that mindset.  Adam used to play professional baseball -- I wonder if he'd play it now just for fun.  Anyway, Alan Culpepper said if he were to undertake some kind of athletic endeavor just for fun, not as a competition, it would be something like bicycling.  He said he'd love to ride some kind of race like that for fun. 

It was very interesting! 

So, I had a 10 mile tough run this morning.  I felt like I was struggling a lot but actually.  But since I'm running based on HR now, I just tried to follow the plan.  When I got home and looked at my data, I saw the pace was actually pretty fast for me, so it makes sense it would feel pretty grueling. 

But personally, I had another stomach issue on the run this morning.  I don't know what's wrong with me!  I didn't stop, but if there had been a restroom available, I would have.  I wonder if today's problem related to the fact that I had sweet potato fries last night and I don't eat fried food very frequently.  Or maybe I'm getting so old that I'm becoming one of those runners who has to get up really early to make sure there's adequate bathroom time before a run.  I guess that's not a unique issue for older runners really, but I've always kind of had a gut of steel.  Never had to worry about it.  My time may have come.  Also, I've had itchy skin for about a week now, but I doubt that's related to having 2 runs where I needed bathroom stops.  More likely related to trying to use up my backlogged supply of bathroom products. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Breaking Boston News

Just saw this and thought I'd share for anyone interested.  Registering for Boston 2012 has a rolling admittance based on your margin of qualifying time.  I think I may be making some serious adjustments to my Boston goal for this year.  Before I was thinking I definitely wanted to requalify and I wanted a PR, but I wasn't too worried about by how many minutes -- I was more interested in being able to recover quickly since we fly straight from Boston to Italy. 

The ramifications of these changes are just starting to sink in for me.  For all these friends I have who were hoping to qualify in Chicago this fall, or at some other fall marathon (seems like a lot of people I know are doing Chicago though), registration for Boston 2012 will likely already be full.  And so for people running a fall 2011 marathon, that will be attempting to qualify for Boston 2013, which has the faster qualifying time requirement!  So people will have to move at least 5 minutes faster after Sept. 24, 2011.  Wow.  This is huge...

I'll have to think more though, because I'm not positive I'll want to run Boston again.  I don't usually like to repeat marathons where I have to travel.  Too many others I want to do.  But geez, I'd like to have the option!  What if it's bad weather this year, or I get hurt?  I'd rather be able to try next year too.  Or if I want to go next year to run with friends.  Or if I want to go next year because it's the best race ever.  I definitely have to do some major evaluation of my goals and training.  Anyway, here are the details. 

Background:  Boston registration was a mess this year.  The marathon filled up in less than a day, when it's never closed out so quickly before (though it had been closing more quickly each year for the last few).  And there were slighly fewer spots available for runners this year because they allowed deferments last year for all European runners stranded because of the volcano.  So fewer spots plus people who got shut out last year, plus people who heard about people getting shut out last year meant it filled fast this year.

I posted about my first attempt to get in, not knowing it wasn't open yet, and then about the chaos of registration day, when I actually was able to register (only after authorizing about 40 charges to my credit card of $130 per pop). 

Changes:  It was inevitable that it had to change somehow.  So now it's rolling admissions based on your qualifying margin.  And also new times go into effect in 2013.  The new times are basically 5 minutes faster across the board, but really 6 minutes because they're eliminating the 59 second cushion that was there before.  Or so I've heard.  This is all hearsay at this point!

UPDATED:  Since the BAA website is slammed and I finally got through, here's the full text:

B.A.A. to Offer Fastest Qualified Runners Early Acceptance into 2012 Boston Marathon With New Registration Process

BOSTON – The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced today a change in its registration process for the Boston Marathon, allowing the fastest qualifiers to enter the earliest and with a rolling admission system while also offering all eligible runners an increased registration period. The changes in registration are a response by the B.A.A. to greater than ever demand by runners to gain entry into the Boston Marathon and culminate more than three months of analysis, including input from the running industry. Rather than accepting runners who have met the qualifying standards on a first come, first served approach, a more systematic, performance-based process will be employed.

2012 Boston Marathon

For the 2012 Boston Marathon, registration will extend for two weeks, beginning on Monday, September 12, 2011 and continuing until Friday, September 23, 2011. The qualifying times for the 2012 Boston Marathon will not change from recent past years since the standards had been previously announced and have been in effect since last September. However, the new registration process addresses the increased demand among qualified runners to participate in the Boston Marathon and will accommodate those who are the fastest qualifiers first.

Registration will occur on a “rolling admission” schedule until the maximum field size is reached, beginning with the fastest qualifiers. On the first day of registration for the 2012 Boston Marathon, those who are eligible for entry by having met the qualifying standards for their age and gender group by 20 minutes or more will be able to enter on the first day of registration (September 12). On the third day (September 14), registration will open for those who have met their qualifying standards by 10 minutes or more. On the fifth day (September 16), registration will open for those who have met their qualifying standards by five minutes or more. During this first week of registration, applicants will be notified as they are accepted and their qualifying performance verified.

If the field size is not reached after the first week and additional space remains, then registration will open to all qualifiers at the beginning of Week Two (September 19) and those who have met the qualifying standards by any amount of time will be able to apply for entry. The application process will remain open for the entire week, closing on September 23. At the conclusion of Week Two, those who are the fastest among the pool of applicants in their age and gender will be accepted. Accepted athletes will be notified on September 28.

If space remains available after this two week process, registration will remain open to any qualifier on a first come, first served basis until the maximum field size is reached.

The field size for the 2012 Boston Marathon will not represent a significant increase from the most recent years.

Registration Process for the 2012 Boston Marathon

Date registration opens for runners with times...

September 12, 2011 20 min., 00sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)

September 14, 2011 10 min., 00 sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)

September 16, 2011 5 min., 00 sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)

Second Week

September 19, 2011 All Qualified Runners

September 23, 2011 Registration closes for qualified applicants

September 28, 2011 (appx) Qualifiers from entry during second week of registration are notified of their acceptance.

If the field is not filled at the conclusion of the two weeks, then registration will remain open and qualifiers will be accepted on a first come, first served basis until the maximum field size is reached.

2013 Boston Marathon

For the 2013 Boston Marathon, in addition to the new “rolling admission” process for registration which will be in effect for the 2012 Boston Marathon, the B.A.A. will adjust the qualifying times by lowering them by five minutes from the times which have been in effect in recent past years. The adjusted qualifying times will go into effect on September 24, 2011, and are as follows:

2013 Qualifying Times (effective September 24, 2011)

Age Group Men Women

18-34 3hrs 05min 00sec 3hrs 35min 00sec

35-39 3hrs 10min 00sec 3hrs 40min 00sec

40-44 3hrs 15min 00sec 3hrs 45min 00sec

45-49 3hrs 25min 00sec 3hrs 55min 00sec

50-54 3hrs 30min 00sec 4hrs 00min 00sec

55-59 3hrs 40min 00sec 4hrs 10min 00sec

60-64 3hrs 55min 00sec 4hrs 25min 00sec

65-69 4hrs 10min 00sec 4hrs 40min 00sec

70-74 4hrs 25min 00sec 4hrs 55min 00sec

75-79 4hrs 40min 00sec 5hrs 10min 00sec

80 and over 4hrs 55min 00sec 5hrs 25min 00sec

*Unlike previous years, an additional 59 seconds will NOT be accepted for each age group time standard.

Registration for the 2013 Boston Marathon will begin on Monday, September 10, 2012.

“As the number of qualified runners has increased combined with greater demand to run the Boston Marathon, our new registration process enables those who qualify by the greatest amount of time to have the longest period to enter,” said Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director. “Our new registration process takes into consideration the many comments we received from runners this past fall and winter, most of whom urged the B.A.A. to institute a system which recognizes athletic performance above all else.”

Additionally, to recognize and to encourage longtime Boston Marathon entrants, the B.A.A. will allow those who have met the qualifying times and who have finished the last ten consecutive Boston Marathons to enter anytime during the registration period. Currently, there are approximately 500 runners who have run 10 or more consecutive Boston Marathons.

The B.A.A. last adjusted the qualifying times for the 2003 Boston Marathon, relaxing times for runners who were 55 years old and older. The last time the qualifying times were made more stringent was for the 1980 Boston Marathon.

The 2011 Boston Marathon reached its maximum field size of qualifiers faster than any previous year when qualifiers rushed to fill the race and the qualified field closed in eight hours, three minutes.

Running with the Stars

Somehow I don't think there would be as many people tuning in to watch Running with the Stars, but that's what I'm hoping to do tonight.  As an aside, I've never watched Dancing with the Stars, but there is the same program on TV in Italy called Ballando con le Stelle, which we watched live one time when we were there and now DVR and watch at home.  Soooo cheesy and funny.  Mike Tyson was on once, and there are sometimes other random American celebrities.  Anyway, Running with the Stars would be Correndo con le Stelle and I'd watch for sure! 

Today's schedule is 8 miles.  I'm splitting it between morning and evening miles.  This morning I ran just over 2 at camp, and I was car-less and all set to run 2.8 home, but then I realized my running buddy wouldn't be able to join me and I just didn't feel like running alone, so I hitched a ride home with a friend and hubby continued straight on to work. 

But I knew it wasn't a big deal to skip the miles this morning because I'm planning to do a social run tonight.  With the stars.  Well, with a star.  With a star in the running world. 

The running store with which I do all my training organizes 6 weeks of social runs leading up to the St. Pat's 5k here, which is my favorite race of the year.  They have social runs all year, but for the 6 weeks before the St. Pat's Dash (my only "Dash" race, unlike SeattleRunnerGirl who has a year full of "dash"es), they start a bit later, have special themes, run part of the race route, and start at a grocery store with a cafe.

The first two of the six social runs were iced out -- cancelled because the roads were too bad.  And of course we're mid-70s this week, which is the complete opposite of last week.  So I'm really excited about tonight's run.  Though my besties won't be there, my favorite running coach of all time probably will be, along with an even more well-known star...

Alan Culpepper! 

He's an American runner who competed in the Olympics in 00 and 04, and ran a sub-2:10 debut marathon.  For people who enjoy watching marathons, like me, the 04 Olympic marathon was a crazy spectacle.  That was the one where an Italian won (!), an American came in second (!) and the guy who finished third had been attacked on the course while he was in the lead during the last 10k and pushed into the crowd (!!!!). 

It was absolutely insane to watch the final one of those things happen.  I remember seeing this crazy guy on the course dressed in a big costume and all of a sudden, he was going at the lead runner and shoving him into the crowd.  The crowd pulled the protester off the runner and helped the runner get up and back onto the course.  That may have cost the runner the lead -- ignoring the 20 or so seconds he lost actually being attacked and then trying to get back onto the course, the mental shock had to be almost overwhelming. 

I can't imagine how focused (and tired) you'd be leading the Olympic marathon in the last 10k -- and to be thrown off your game like that, physically and mentally, it's awful.  He said he had been afraid he'd be killed, he didn't know if the protester had a gun or a knife. And after he got up, his muscles cramped up and he was passed by two runners in the next few kilometers.

I don't care if this protester thinks the end of the world is coming (that's apparently his message, he's called the Grand Prix Priest because he interfered with that car race too), there are certainly better ways to convey your message than to go at a runner at the end of a marathon.  That's just so cruel.  The protester apologized and everything, and I think he was charged, but that doesn't really matter to the guy who ended up with the bronze -- though of course he was very professional and polite about everything from what I saw -- though maybe he was in the back screaming at and crying to his coach or something...  His country appealed that she should have gotten the gold, but it was denied. 

Also, after that, there was a lot of criticism of the police for not protecting the runners better, but that seems kind of odd to me -- I just don't know how you enforce security over 26 miles on roads.  The whole essence of the marathon is the distance you cover.  There's just no way to secure that much road and still have spectators there to cheer for the runners. 

Anyway, aside from all that excitement, Alan Culpepper finished 12th, making him the second-place American, impressive in and of itself.

So tonight Alan Culpepper is going to be at the social run, and I'm going to hopefully run next to him and talk to him for a few minutes.  I need to think of a cool question to ask him.  Either about his own experience, or about how to improve mine.  He's finished top 5 at Boston, so my default question will be some kind of Boston tip.  But if you have any bright ideas, please comment.  I'd love to have a couple good things to ask him.  He's also married to a competitive runner, but I don't think either of them is competing anymore. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

VD Celebration

Yesterday I took a rest day, but it maybe would have been better-placed on the calendar today.  Last night we ended up going out for dinner after all.  My husband had been home sick from work, but really wanted to go to dinner.  I said we could still go if he felt like he was at a 9 or higher on the 10 point wellness scale.  He claimed to be at a 9 when I got home from work, but he later confessed that he'd lied. 

We went to his favorite pizza place, Olivella's.  It's pretty close to our house and very good, though we both think the quality has slipped a little bit from their first few months of operation. 

We had something to celebrate besides Valentine's Day (our sixth together!), which I told him at dinner, but I can't say anything about that right now.  Later this week I will though. 

But I did not sleep well at all last night.  I woke up around 1 and couldn't get back to sleep until sometime after 3.  So when the alarm went off at 4:45 for our 10 mile group run today, I really wanted to just shut it off and go back to sleep, but of course, I know better. 
I ran tired and my heart rate was overly high the entire time, but I was still happy to get the 10 miles out of the way.  The pleasant change this morning was that it finally wasn't miserably cold.  I think it was mid-50s at the start, and fairly windy.  But within a few miles I realized I was overdressed in long sleeves and shorts.  It always takes me a couple runs at a new temp before I remember exactly what clothing is best. 

Anyway, we have fun plans tonight... meeting with our accountant.  I've spent most of my day getting ready for it (i.e., not billing clients).  Lots of printing summaries, making spreadsheets, totalling amounts, pooling receipts, etc.  But hopefully the damage won't be too bad this year... 

My ex-boyfriend used to say that he thought the best possible tax reform would be to eliminate withholding, since most of the population would revolt at having to suddenly fork over 20-40% of the prior year's earnings.  Suddenly government expenditures would be slashed due to massive accord among the unelected.  But when it's just taken out of our checks automatically, we don't really miss the money and there's no mass uprising. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Costco Fail

One of my resolutions this year was to work on reducing some of my clutter.  For unknown reasons, I have ended up with a bathroom drawer nearly full of hotel-sized bottles of products.  So, since January, I've been trying to work through the backlog.  I'm finally basically out of conditioner, except a couple sets I've saved for our guest bathroom. 

We don't have a Costco membership, but usually tag along with our neighbors about twice a year.  So when we went with them in mid-January, I saw a 40 oz. bottle of my conditioner there and figured I'd pick it up.  After all, I use conditioner just about every day, and it's not like it's going to go bad. 

Well, it's been a complete failure.  First, the bottle is too big to fit in the rack that holds our shampoo bottles from the shower head.  That's okay, I can leave it on the shelf in the shower, or on the seat.  But worse, second, the bottle is too big to hold, especially with wet hands.  So on my first morning attempting to use it, I dropped it not once, but twice.  And have basically busted off almost the entire top. 

It's fine for now, until the bottle gets fairly empty.  Then I won't be able to store it upside down and that means I'll have to wait forever for the conditioner to pour down the huge bottle, or I'll end up pitching it early, negating any cost savings we attained.

Live and learn!

But whining about a conditioner bottle is better than complaining about feeling achy today -- I actually feel pretty good.  Left hamstring is kind of tight, but maybe I'll do some stretching tonight.  We may be cancelling our VD dinner plans since hubby is home sick from work.  He had a fever this morning and is feeling pretty lousy...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

First 20 -- check!!

Pretty solid 20 miles this morning!  I'm thrilled.  The only bad part of the run was that I had to make a pit stop at mile 18.  My stomach was so upset and it came on very suddenly.  If I had to guess about causation, I'd say it was because I started eating some Cliff blox toward the end of the run and I also had Gatorade at some of the late water stops.  I know full well not to mix gu or shots with anything other than water, but wasn't too focused on it this morning.

The good news though, is that my pace and heart rate were awesome.  I am so happy with both! 

And I'm fairly pain free.  I'm about to do an ice bath, ugh, and I'll try to ice my ankles this afternoon at some point.  I might take the scheduled rest day tomorrow instead of cross-training.  I'm exhausted right now. 

But I'm so happy!

I don't know why the first 20 miler of any marathon season makes me so nervous, but it always does.  And I always feel so good to have it under my belt.  I don't know how many more 20 or 20+ milers we have.  Probably at least 3 more I'd guess. 

Alright, enough writing.  Plan for the day:  ice bath, hot shower, start laundry, go meet hubby for lunch for Mexican food (chips will equalize my sodium levels), then probably to the office to do a response to a motion to quash, then I'm going to cook an awesome dinner, then go to a heart rate monitor lecture, then come back home and eat the delicious and nutritious dinner I made.  Can't remember where I got the recipe, it was a blog, but it's some kind of squash lentil soup. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Life Without Work

The other day, my husband said something about how he wished I could just stop working until after Boston and our trip, and then start back up.  He said I could just train until then.  I'd mentioned to him when other friends are scheduling their own running given our crappy weather lately, and group runs in the early morning are cancelled for ice or snow.  Some have their own businesses and some don't work, which means some people get to run at 8:30 in the morning, or noonish.  That prompted hubby's comment about wishing I could stay home (I showed him the place on the blog where I did my About Me and wrote that I wished I could train full time instead of working).  So we were talking about what each of us would do with our days if we didn't have to work (this was assuming one of worked, not that we'd get to hang out together, that would probably be a very different list since we'd both want to travel together). 

He said:  I'd attend boot camp three days a week (M/W/F), I'd run two days a week (Tu/Th).  I'd also do martial arts 2x /wk, and yoga 2x/wk.  I'd also study Italian daily, including a 1 hour lesson with an instructor who comes to our house to do a private lesson.  And maybe I'd do some wrestling.  That's it. 

I pressed him for more details, since that's pretty much only about 3 hours of activity per day.  He said he'd allow an hour for each meal and would just play the rest of the time.  He'd just want to hang out and have fun.  He said he'd go to the shooting range some, but not on a schedule. 


If I didn't have to work right now, with Boston looming on the horizon, I'd do weights every day (alternating areas I'd work), probably with a trainer.  I'd run 6 days a week, with some two a days, also with a coach.  It would be a very ambitious running program.  I'd also probably do yoga 6 days a week.  I'd add in some biking a couple times a week.  Maybe I'd try to learn to swim.  And then I'd probably spend most of the rest of my time planning meals, cooking, eating and sleeping. 

If I wasn't worried about training for my most-anticipated marathon ever, I'd also like to take Italian lessons daily.  I'd spend lots of time reading.  I love to read, especially history books.  And I'd do lots more cooking.  And at some point, I'd get on top of my two ongoing tasks that I'm not good about doing, but I love having done:  photo organizing and correspondence.

And maybe I'd be more on top of clearing out clutter.  I could catch up on back issues of magazines (finally canceled subscriptions because there was such a backlog).  And I'd sleep enough to get rid of the circles under my eyes that only disappear after 3 straight weeks of vacation, which is rare.  I might work on learning another language, or improving my French.  I'd work on writing my non-fiction book, which I already work on sporadically, but I'm not sure it's something I'd ever seek to have published, so it's not very urgent. 

But my short list of activities:  running, core/weights, yoga, Italian, cooking daily.  And then bursts of tv, reading, researching, photo album creation, and correspondence. 

Maybe I should buy that lottery ticket I've been contemplating for the last year or so...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Big Breakfast

Our neighbors, who are among our favorite people in the world as I've said before, are getting ready to go to Michigan for a little while.  They leave tomorrow, and I know I'll spend a week or two in withdrawal.  Lately, we've been eating dinner together at our place most Saturday nights (carb-loading for me for Sunday morning runs), and she's been coming over to watch The Bachelor with me 1-2 nights per week, depending how long it takes us to get through an episode (that is, how many minutes the show spends on pause while we discuss).  I'm going to miss them a lot. 

Anyway, for the past couple weeks, we've been trying to find a good morning to eat breakfast together.  They offered to have us over to try their spectacular homemade waffles.

Well, today was the day.  It was perfect since it's Friday so I can wear jeans to work, plus my Thursday 10-miler (with 4 fast) got moved to today, so I knew I'd be starving.

So hubby went to boot camp, I went to run (went pretty well, though I ran alone for much of the time).  Then we met at home, washed some berries (they're out of produce since they're about to leave town), and headed next door for waffles (I ate six!!!), coffee and fruit.  It was such a relaxing morning, it sucked that I had to leave.  Hubby stayed behind to hang out longer while I came home to get ready for work. 

When I got home and took off my nasty running clothes, I realized I have about a three inch long mark on my chest, right at the bottom of my bra or the top of my HR monitor.  Not sure which was the culprit.  It didn't hurt when I got in the shower the way it does if I've actually chafed, so not sure what went wrong.  But it hurts...

I am contemplating a rest day for tomorrow.  Our planned schedule this week was:

Sun - 18 miles w/ 6 at race pace
Mon- rest
Tues - 9 miles w/ 4 in zone 2
Wed - 8 miles easy
Thurs - 10 miles w/ 4 in zone 3
Fri - 5 miles optional
Sat - 8 miles easy
Sun - 20 miles easy

My actual schedule so far has been:

Sun - 18.1 miles w/ 6 at race pace
Mon - easy boot camp (0 miles)
Tues - 9.2 miles w/ 3 in zone 2 (HR was slow to come down after the 3 miles I aimed for zone 2, so I had 1 extra mile in zone 2)
Wed - boot camp and 4.6 miles easy (on ice)
Thurs - rest
Fri - 10 miles w/ 1 in zone 3 and 3 in zone 2 (just couldn't get my HR up enough, felt sluggish)

So I know I'll head out for the 20 on Sunday.  If I run 8 tomorrow, that would put me at 38 miles in 3 days!!!  I'm worried that's just too much for me, particularly at my level of experience/training/fitness, etc.  I mean, realistically, having run a dozen marathons over the last half-decade isn't a ton of experience.  I'm not used to a higher mileage schedule yet.  I worry 38 miles in 3 days would be a recipe for injury. 

So I might just cut it back to 5 tomorrow, I might take tomorrowcompletely off.  Guess I'll just see what I feel like doing.  The smartest plan would probably be to do some yoga or something.  But there's no reason I couldn't run and do yoga.

Okay, I'll put yoga on my to-do list for tomorrow.  Maybe it will help with some general tightness I've been having.  And I'll be able to stretch out this massive breakfast that is sitting in my belly! 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Non-running soreness

Yesterday's snow day seemed a little pointless.  By mid-afternoon, it hadn't warmed up much, but enough cars were out that the ice on the roads melted for the most part.  So I did something different.

I ran to work. 

Woot!  It was only about 4.5 miles, and could have been shorter if I'd made a couple different turns.  This was my first time doing that since we don't have shower facilities at the office.  But since the office was closed today, it didn't matter if I was sweaty and in running clothes.  The miles were pretty slow -- I ran in the streets, but since I was heading downtown, there were several places that had a bit of traffic so I had to move to the sidewalks, which generally were considerably icier than the streets. 

I woke up this morning in pain.  Mostly lower back pain.  As soon as I isolated what really hurt, I had no question it was from boot camp, as a result of my poor form on some exercises, and that it would go away within a day or two. 

This was our workout at boot camp yesterday morning.  We ran between each station. 

30 knees-in, an ab exercise
30 high knees/prisoner-run style
10 tuck jumps
20 curb jump squats
30 mountain-climbers
30 push-ups
30 knees-in ab exercises
30 wood-choppers (may have been a parial culprit for my pain)
30 in and out squats (likely the primary cause of my pain)
30 split squats
30 jumping jacks
20 or 30 squat thrusts (can't remember how many)
20 cherry pickers
30 knees-in ab exercises

And we had to go through that circuit three times.  For the in and out squats, you squat with your feet together and touch the ground, then jump into a squat with you feet apart and touch the ground.  The reason he makes us touch the ground is that too many people cheat when you don't have to touch the ground.  But I found a way to cheat while still touching the ground -- instead I bent with my back more instead of using good form on the squats.  Oh, what a mistake...

My legs are fairly sore too -- mostly hamstrings and groin, but it's really my lower back that hurts.  Oh well.

I skipped the run this morning because our coach emailed us last night and said "Friday is the new Thursday."  Because of all the ice yesterday, some of which remained today, our Thursday 10 miler (including 4 fast miles!!) is moved to tomorrow.

This scares me.  I'm going to have 36 miles in 3 days.  I've never done that before.  10 tomorrow.  6 Saturday easy.  Then 20 Sunday easy.  Wow.  Here's hoping I feel solid and strong on Monday, instead of broken! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snow Day IV.5

Another snow day!  If court deadlines were correspondingly adjusted, this would be awesome!  But, argh, I have two things due tomorrow, and I have to be prepared for the possibility the courts will be open.  Not so easy to get things ready when the office is closed.  I brought tons of stuff home with me to get them done, but it's not the same.  And making it even more difficult is the fact that I just took a little walk to check the mail and realized our Netflix movie was here -- The Social Network, which I've really wanted to see.  And hubby is off today too, so it's quite the battle.

I wish I'd tried to run this morning.  There are 8 miles on the schedule and there's a good chance I will skip all 8.  I was planning to do 6 at the social run tonight, but that was cancelled for the weather.

Hubby and I got up for boot camp this morning though.  Oddly enough, he really didn't want to go.  Usually I'm the one who will take any excuse to skip it and just sleep in, but he loves going so much, that I get up too.  Today though he kept asking if I was planning to go, if I was really going to work out (because I've started attending in body only on Mondays, pretty much just standing around and helping hubby count reps and stuff, answering questions from other campers, since it's my only official rest day).  I knew I wanted to go, so he got up and we went together.

No problems driving downtown.  The roads were wet and I was worried they'd be slick (temp was in the low 20s!), but it was fine.  I drove his car and had no issues.  We worked out for the hour, then headed home, with me driving again.  The roads had gotten significantly worse.  A dusting of snow, but the infamous north Texas "wintry mix" falling, and what wetness remained on the roads rapidly freezing.  I drove for about a mile and had several issues.  A light would turn green but my tires would spin instead of engaging.  I'd hit a little slick spot and feel like we were hydroplaning.  Then we were coming up on a red light and I hit the brakes but nothing happened.  We just kept going forward and I could hear the traction control trying to kick in.

I must say, I'm getting to be a better driver.  I was screaming as I realized the car wasn't stopping, but I didn't cover my eyes!  I didn't even close them!  Instead, I kept looking at the road and watched the intersection, presumably so I could lay on the horn if I saw the car of death plowing toward us.  But no one was coming and the tires eventually caught traction and stopped, just a tiny bit into the intersection. 

But that was enough for me.  As soon as we stopped, I put it in park and hopped out and told hubby it was his turn to drive.  He never covers his eyes when he thinks he's going to crash.  It was much safer. 

So now I'm gearing up to work from home.  With The Social Network and a big pot of double mac and cheese for lunch soon!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pain No. 1

During our run this morning (9 miles with 4 in the next heart rate level), several people were talking about some pains that have been cropping up.  Sore hips, sore gluts, sore quads, sore calves, etc.  And I didn't say anything, but I was thinking it was quite surprising I didn't have my own complain to add.

Usually when I hit weekly mileage in the mid- to upper-40s, it's very close to marathon times and the pains are piling up.  This year, I'm still more than two months out from the marathon and as of 5:15 this morning, was feeling good. 

Had a solid run and felt pretty good the whole time.  Ran with someone I don't know very well and loved the chance to talk to her. 

Stretched when I finished briefly and came home. 

And now my left hamstring feels tight.  Hmm.  Where did that come from??!!  I'm going to try to do some extra stretching today and see if I can't either roll it or get my husband to try to rub it after work.  It's way too early for something to be hurting.  But is it?  There have been several other seasons where the first sore spots have cropped up a couple months before the race, and they've gone away in time. 

Either way, it kind of sucks.  Oh well.  One tight hamstring for one day isn't reason for me to worry.  I just want to make sure it doesn't become one painful hamstring for multiple days! 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Status Check

Feeling surprisingly good this morning, which is awesome.  Ankles and knees felt mildly stiff when I got out of bed, but not bad at all.

For my rest day today, I went to boot camp with the AC.  I didn't really work out, mostly just watched.  I did a few minutes of abs and arms, but really tried to pretend I was still in bed (while giving him water and counting his reps for him). 

This is going to be a very tough week.  10 tomorrow, 10 on Thurs., and I haven't looked at Wed or Sat yet.  We also found out yesterday that our second lactate threshold test is going to be Feb. 19.  Let's hope not being ill will yield better results.

We watched the game last night.  Somehow I missed the Darth Vader commercial that everyone is talking about.  The funniest one I saw probably was the Doritos one with the guy sucking the other guy's finger.  I'm not a big Doritos eater, but occasionally I'll go for Cheetos, so I know the finger suck well.  I also like the tire commercial about the reply all email. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Score! 18 down.

Very happy to have had a good run this morning.  I was thinking it was going to be insanely tough.

8 miles easy, 6 miles marathon pace and/or HR zone 3, and then 4 miles easy. 

The marathon pace part was hard.  Very, very hard.  But I did it.  And felt pretty good, and my heart rate wasn't maxing out zone 3 at any point.  And going 8 more miles wouldn't have necessarily been fun or fast, but it would have been possible I think. 

This was very different for me.  First, in no prior marathon training season have I run 18 miles more than 2 months before race day.  Second, in no prior marathon training season have I run race pace for this many miles on a long run this early.  I hope this yields great results! 

But now I'm fading.  I've been home for less than an hour I think.  I drank my recovery drink before I got home, and then had an English muffin with pepper jack cheese to tide me over while I made breakfast.  And I think my eyes were bigger than my stomach.  I made an insanely huge portion of oatmeal -- probably 3 or 4 servings -- mixed with pumpkin pie filling, raisins, cinnamon and brown sugar.  I used whole milk to make it (very rare for me, I usually use light soy or skim) (and actually, I most often eat oatmeal before a long run, so then I make it with water since dairy is not a good idea for me (or most other runners actually) before a long run). 

I'm starting to feel a little bleh from eating so much and I still have about 5 big bites left in the bowl.

One weird thing about me is that I'm very strange about wasting food.  Like I HATE doing it.  More than almost anyone I know.  We had clean plate rules growing up, but generally my parents were pretty reasonable.  I didn't get strange about it until my first trip to Africa in 2000.  When I got back from that trip, not only did I insist on either cleaning my plate or boxing up the remaining food (regardless of how little it was sometimes), but I was actually very disturbed to see anyone else wasting food too -- I never went so far as to get a stranger's food boxed up, but at that time, I either insisted my friends take their remaining food home with them or I'd take it myself.  Waste makes me sad when some people have so little.  Thankfully I'm not quite so neurotic anymore.  But if I really am too full to finish this big @ss bowl of oatmeal, I'll stick it in the fridge and eat it later.

Anyway, so happy not to have a big agenda today.  I'm thinking Law & Order marathon, naps, and then some cooking before the game tonight!  Neither of us care about football at all, but I like funny commercials!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tired of This

This weather is getting old very fast.  Not what I signed up for when I agreed to move to Dallas.  Hubby and I both felt stir-crazy (and a tad hung over) this morning, so we set off for downtown so he could go to bootcamp and I could run in the streets there, which I figured would be clearer than the streets in our hood.


I had an easy 6 on the schedule today and I did it, but it was not fun.  Boot camp was in a parking garage that went up 11 levels, so I ran up to the top, down to the bottom, then I'd go outside and run a little, then repeat.  I did a total of 4 sets, not sure of the mileage yet, probably about 6, maybe 6.5.  My garmin kept losing signal in the garage, which I understand, but now the data won't upload, which is irritating.  I sent another email to product support, so we'll see what comes of that. 

Anyway, the roads were slick.  And running on the loose snow felt shaky as well.  My pace (and HR) was crazy slow.  But with the 4 sets, at least I got in the miles.  I didn't fall, I didn't freeze, and I didn't have to suffer through another dreadmill run this week. 

I think we'll do more DVR clearing today, so yet more time parked on the couch.  Ugh.  This is getting very old. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Day 3? 4?

We got a ton o' snow last night -- they predicted up to 1.5 inches, and we're certainly over 6.  Not a big deal for someone from the great white north, but a huge deal in Dallas.  No plows to clear it, no salt to put down, etc.

So work was closed AGAIN today!  I just didn't have it in me to exercise today.  I was planning to go to boot camp and just do whatever running that included, since today's schedule is 5 optional miles.  But camp was cancelled, hubby was home, and we're having a little dinner party tonight.

Most of the day has been spent napping, cleaning, clearing off the DVR, and cooking.  It's a fairly simple meal since I expected to be working all day today.

For appetizers, we're just having olives, hummus, crackers and some kind of cheese -- hubby is at the store now choosing one.

Then for the meal, we're having a curried carrot squash sooup, and roasted eggplant with orzo.  Both new recipes, so I hope they work.

For dessert, we're having upside-down black forest cakes (individual ones), with whipped cream. 

I burnt the first batch of eggplant I tried to roast.  My worst kitchen habbit is setting the timer for the oven, having it go off, looking in the oven and deciding it needs another few minutes, then not resetting the timer and promptly forgetting about it.  Oops.  So hubby went back to the store to buy a second batch. 

Anyway, I'm about to make the cakes and open the wine so cooking becomes that much more relaxing! 

Such a pretty day.  I'll have to supplement this tomorrow with some snow pictures, and maybe dinner pictures if I remember. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Clearly I'm losing it.  I skipped working out completely yesterday after a second day of ice.  The roads are actually okay once you get onto the main thoroughfares, but side streets are still icy.  My hubby did his long run and unfortunately fell toward the end (hopefully just some bruises, his back and elbow are all that hurts).  He also encountered a coyote (which fortunately, like most, was more afraid of him than he was of it).  It's just after 6 a.m. right now and the temp is 17, but not sure of the wind chill.  Insane.

More insanity?  I'm contemplating the dreadmill today.  I have to decide in the next half hour I think.  Since I skipped the run yesterday (8 miles), I really should go today for the 10 on the schedule.  That will put me at close to 40 for the week (again, assuming I follow the rest of the schedule). 

I hate treadmill running.  But I'm getting desperate.  It's really cold, I really need the miles, I'm afraid of aggressive and unleashed dogs, I'm afraid of equally fearful coyotes, I'm afraid of falling and getting hurt. 

Oddly enough, my quads are very sore from my run on Tuesday.  It doesn't make sense -- given the weather and the ice, my pace (and HR) was so much slower than usual.  I guess being on the unsteady surface made me use different muscles in my legs.  But it was something like the soreness I experience there when I go over 20 miles. 

So that's one more thing a treadmill might alleviate.  I need to stop stalling and make a decision.  Either start layering the clothes, or grab shorts and a singlet and some warm-ups and get in the car.  Hmm...

UPDATE at 10 a.m.:  I did it!  Hammered out 10 miles on the dreadmill.  It wasn't fun but didn't completely suck.  Hubby was working out as well, so that was nice.  I had company.  He filled my water bottle a couple times and after I hit mile 5, I could count down my miles to him.  And he turned up the tv really loud, so I'm up to speed on the latest news for Egypt.  Hard to believe that when I posted about 6 months ago about our tentative spring vacation plans, Egypt was completely on our radar screens!  Lucky change of plans.  And actually, our most recent plan has changed more -- I'll have to post about it soon, but my hint is "Invece Lecce."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day II

So work was closed yesterday, and it is again today!  And boot camp was cancelled for this morning, which is also rare.  Our streets are really icy, but I think hubby is going to go with me to drive into my office to grab some work to bring home. 

Defying the odds, I decided to run outside yesterday.  Not a mistake. 

I spent the morning around the house.  Played on FB a bit, and saw my bestie had posted something thanking the trail near our houses for saving her from 8 miles on the dreadmill.  So I called her for a check of the conditions.  She said it was slow going to get to the trail (she has about a block to get there, all uphill; I have about 3 blocks but flat), and that the bottom half mile of the trail was too icy to use, and that the bridges were icy, but otherwise it was good.

It was almost noon and I wasn't doing anything else, so I decided to give it a shot. 

I layered up:  thick socks, tights AND pants, short sleeve running shirt, long sleeved running shirt, ear band, hat and hubby's warm running gloves.  Aside from my runny nose and a loose dog, it was perfect.

Very icy getting to the trail, and with the wind, despite my body mass/density, I felt like I was going to be blown over or blown backward.  I got on the trail and it was pretty good. 

Unfortunately, I disregarded my friend's advice and decided to run all the way down to the bottom of the trail.  For the first time in my running life, I was seriously afraid of a dog.  I was running south and a large dog started barking and raced down a hill toward me.  I was so scared.  My heart rate was through the roof.  Fortunately, it didn't chase me more than a few feet but I had no idea what I was going to do.  I felt completely defenseless.  There wasn't another person or a weapon in sight.  Nor did I have a cell phone. 

Usually this trail has tons of people on it.  Last weekend there were hundreds.  Yesterday, over the course of 9.5 miles, I saw 2 other runners, 2 bikers, and 8 walkers.  No one near me when the dog rushed me. 

I kept going south and had no idea what to do.  I ran near the bottom of the trail for a few miles and was trying to decide on a strategy to get home.  I was thinking maybe I could try a round-about way on the streets to get back on the trail north of where the dog was, but the streets seemed really icy. 

I finally decided to run back north on the trail and find a stick to take with me.  When I was about a quarter mile away from where I'd seen the dog, I grabbed a huge branch/stick.  It was probably 5 feet long and I figured was better than nothing.  So I carried that with me and ran north.

Sure enough, the dog started going crazy and rushed back down the hill at me.  I kept the branch on the side the dog came from and just kept moving without looking in its eyes or anything, and when I got to the bridge, which was very icy, it stopped following me.  I dropped the branch there in case someone else needed it.

Scariest running experience of my life probably (well, except for maybe two other runs where I had a random fear that turned out to be completely unjustified; this was my first justifiably afraid run). 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Nail Magnet

Just in case anyone reading is in the market for a new car, I have some advice for you.  When I bought my car, I didn't pay too much attention to the options.  There were a few things I cared about, and a bunch of other stuff in the "sport package." 

Well, read the fine print.  I think one of the options I must have selected for my car was something called a nail magnet for my tires.

Seriously, I get more flats than anyone I've ever heard of.  And since I'm not great at changing a tire (I suppose I would attempt it if I were truly stranded somewhere remote), it sucks. 

Somehow, I got through 2010 with only two flat tires.  First, after a 15k in the summer.  Then again in October.  

At this rate, 2011 is going to be a record-breaker.  I didn't even finish January without getting one.  A few days ago, one of my tires seemed low, so we put air in it, but didn't see a nail or anything.  Well, yesterday I had a meeting in the late afternoon and when it wrapped up and I got out to my car at about 5:00, it was flat. 

I started carrying a can of the "fix-a-flat" stuff in my trunk because of my bad luck.  Since hubby wasn't going to be able to come deal with the tire for a couple hours, and since roadside assistance takes fo-ev-ah, I decided to try using the spray.

Note to self:  put on the emergency latex gloves before using next time.  That spray is sticky!

I emptied the can into the tire, and it seemed to inflate some, so I drove to my favorite tire store.

Surprise, I'd picked up a nail.  And just like always, I had to get a new tire.  Usually I need a new tire because the nail goes into the sidewall or something else random.  Well, this tire could have been patched, but when you use the spray, the tire can't be repaired. 

Oh well.  So my third new tire in less than 6 months.  Sigh.  I definitely should have asked that they remove the nail magnet from the sport package.  It sucks. 

In more interesting news, I was a little nervous about having my second high-mileage week in a row this week, but all my worries were for naught. 

There was a big winter storm that came in last night.  Early yesterday, the director of the big running program cancelled classes.  I was kind of excited about a rest day, but then 10 minutes later, the director of our smaller advanced group vetoed the cancellation for our group.  He said he'd make a determination in the morning.

So I had to set the alarm for 4:48 and then check my email -- class cancelled!  So my choices were to brave the roads and try to crank out 10 on a treadmill -- ugh! -- or to just call it a rest day -- yeah!  My mileage probably will be down to the mid-30s this week, which sounds much more manageable.